Just ‘Say No’ to Junk Drawers

Having a kitchen junk drawer moment? Believe it or not it's a thing, and one that more of us struggle with than you might think. We looked to Beth Zeigler, LA based professional organizer and founder of the organizing service Bneato Bar, for some of her tips to help you find some of those items that have gone missing. Read on. You might just find yourself headed to the kitchen! xx, Deborah.

photo courtesy: Bneato Bar

Hi, Beth here. This may sound like crazy talk but I’m actually against having a junk drawer in the kitchen. Even if it is organized to a-T. Drawer space in the kitchen is often lacking - so that makes it a precious commodity in my book. When working in a client’s home, we often need another drawer to create kitchen organizational magic - which is why I advise my clients to say so long to their clutter catch-all.

Typically, things found in a junk drawer are belongings that don’t have a proper home. What should one do with a growing collection of wedding favors, a card from a friend, or a bag of wildflower seeds you eventually want to plant? Because you’re not sure these miscellaneous items end up in a kitchen drawer. Without realizing it, your junk drawer has bestowed upon you the gift of not having to make a decision on stuff that is most likely clutter.

Luckily, this miscellaneous mine field is bite-sized and can be whipped into shape in under an hour. Let’s tackle it together, shall we?!

*Expert tip; Before starting, remove distractions! Silence your cell phone to stay connected to the task at hand

  • First things first, what else could you store in this spot that would make your life so much better? Spend some time in your kitchen. Do you need to free up counter-space or cabinet space? Think about what category would fit best in the drawer space you are about to free up. In my house, drawers are great for;

*Expert tip; Get motivated! Music is a wonderful companion, especially the guilty pleasures!

  • Next, clear a space nearby to empty the entire contents of the drawer. You may want to lay down a sheet or paper towels on the counter-top or table to make cleanup easy.

  • Gather supplies; A sharpie and pack of Post-it notes are good to have on hand to label categories. A trash and recycle bin are helpful to quickly get rid of anything no longer needed.

  • Start sorting ‘like with like.’ All writing utensils in one spot, pads of paper in another, utility items like super glue and batteries in another, and so on and so forth. You might have other categories such as; ‘Give back to neighbor’, ‘repair broken toy’, or ‘find missing piece,’

  • Most of the categories you come across would prefer to have a permanent home. For example, the seeds to plant live best with gardening equipment in the garage. The card from a friend lives with memorabilia in the closet. I find that the stuff found in a junk drawer isn’t used on a daily basis therefore these items shouldn’t be taking up prime real estate in the kitchen.

  • The things I do find the most useful to keep close by; scissors, tape, a couple pens, and a pad of paper -- which can easily live in a magnetized fridge caddy or in a wall pocket on a kitchen door.

  • Once you know what new purpose this drawer will have, take measurements and photos of the category to be stored. Look online for inspiration and then go shopping (if needed) for containers.

Expert tip; Define your new normal. Commit to best practices to keep your de-cluttered space in order

Beth Penn of Bneato Bar will be conducting a decluttering workshop on email, paper and stuff on Saturday, September 10th with Poketo at The Line Hotel from 2-5 pm. Signups over on the Poketo website.

[ FIVE ] TIPS TO ORGANIZING YOUR ENTRYWAY

Happy Friday my beautiful OCD friends! While it's the weekend and time to relax, if you've been around me for even a minute, you probably already know there will be some kind of an organizing project going on here. I plan on re-arranging my craft supplies to make room for a new prop studio I'm creating. Stay tuned for more about that soon.

In the meantime, let's talk about entryways, how to organize and style them.

Clea Shearer | The Home Edit

Clea Shearer | The Home Edit

The entryway. The first impression as you walk in the door and depending on the season, the room filled with everything from beach towels to boots. Trust us, we've all been there. The key is, a place for everything and everything in it's place. Yes, a cliché, but quite frankly, it's what works. This entryway at the home of Clea Shearer, co-founder of The Home Edit has only what it needs. It's functional and neatly styled, just the way we like it.

Looking to organize + style your entryway? Here are 5 easy tips to get you there and some of our favorite entryways.

[ ONE ]. Clear. It. Out. And, we mean everything goes. You might create one big, giant mess, but by the time you finish this project, you should only have things that deserve space in your home or that you absolutely need. Create three areas. 1. Keep, 2. Re-purpose (the item must have a pre-determined place in your home), 3. Donate. This meaning, you're packing items to go out the door in the morning as you go through the editing process.

[ TWO ]. Get set with the proper tools. Everything must have a home or be contained. Do a walk-through and make a list with two columns. The first being what you 'have', the second column, what you 'need'. We're talking everything from a place for mail, keys, shoes, boots, grocery totes, umbrellas, a place to sit and a place to hang your hat(s). We also recommend a console table or floating shelf. Both provide a space to keep your keys in a pretty bowl or tray and and area to sort your mail. You can also line coordinating baskets underneath to store shoes, hats, gloves and slippers. Our big tip here: the entryway is not an office. Sort your mail at the door, keep only 'in and out' mail here, and put the rest to the mail system in your office.

[ THREE ]. Plan, measure, make a list and shop. In. That. Order. Not everyone has a budget for an interior designer or professional organizer, but don't be afraid to call for quotes. Some of the very best stylists and organizers are just starting out and are happy to have the work. And, if you have something to offer, there may be a collaboration or 'trade' in your future. If you're planning a DIY project, the first thing you should do is start a Pinterest board. Collect ideas for color inspiration, style, design, layout and products you love. Next, MEASURE, measure and measure again. Consider this the most important piece of any successful organizing project. You'll know exactly what size baskets, shelves, tables or other items to buy and how many of each. You'll also save time and the cost of store or online returns for those items that don't work out.

[ FOUR ]. Organize + style. In our world, styling has become as important as organizing. If you want your entryway to be Instagram and Pinterest ready, it's more than just getting the job done. It's editing, organizing books or other items by color, grouping like items together, including a pretty wallpaper or your favorite gift wrap to the back of shelving, color coordinating baskets and pulling in accent pieces.

[ FIVE } Make it your own. In addition to organizing items, work in a few home decor pieces to display your own personal style. A wall mirror or piece of art above the table, chest or shelf is an easy way to go. We love the approach Crafted Sparrow took with creating a wall gallery about her family. Did you already guess what the number '4' stands for? If you're not an artist by trade or hobby, see Rebecca's site for ideas. You can also add family photos, a lamp or two, seating or a bench, and of course, fresh flowers or succulents are always a good idea.

xx/deb + allie

17 THINGS YOU NEED TO SPICE UP YOUR PANTRY

Love all the uber organized pantry inspiration going around? Us, too. Organizing your pantry isn't as tough as you think it is and no matter what size or shape your pantry is, we've got good news. You, too can have the pantry of your dreams with these 17 pantry organizers.

                  Chrome 3-Tier Corner Shelf

                  Chrome 3-Tier Corner Shelf

                 Chrome 3-Tier Can Rack

                 Chrome 3-Tier Can Rack

                                                     Savoy Copper Basket Collection

                              Bamboo 2-Tier Turntable

                              Bamboo 2-Tier Turntable

                                Expandable Locking Shelf Doubler

                                Expandable Locking Shelf Doubler

                            Zevro Double Dry Food Dispenser

                            Zevro Double Dry Food Dispenser

                                    Stainless Steel Bread Box

                                    Stainless Steel Bread Box

                   Neat METHOD

                   Neat METHOD

                                 Banana Leaf Storage Baskets

                                 Banana Leaf Storage Baskets

                                 Bamboo Expandable Step Shelf

                                 Bamboo Expandable Step Shelf

Printable hand-written labels: The Creativity Exchange

Printable hand-written labels: The Creativity Exchange

HOW TO ORGANIZE A PANTRY:

1. Assess your space and needs: Measure shelf length, depth and the space in between shelves for height. Include the space from the last shelf to the floor for a walk-in pantry. You may want to add a cart or drawers for more storage or create a home for bottled water and pet food.

2. Remove & re-group: Remove everything from your pantry, and we mean everything. Toss expired items, sort and group like items together.

3. Make a plan and a shopping list: Using your favorite pantry inspiration as a guide, decide on the products you like best and remember that like colors, finishes and same style baskets, bins, containers, turntables and canisters will give you the neatest look. 

4. Reduce: Transfer cereals from boxes and store in airtight containers. Did we mention they will last longer? Glass jars, canisters, lidded candy and cookie jars make a great look and are perfect for storing wrapped treats, granola bars, pastas, grains and dry foods.

5. Get started: Organize by food type and create "zones" so that you'll be able to find what you need during food prep or when you're packing lunches in a hurry. Create a zone for spices, baking items, canned goods, pastas, grains, salty snacks, kids treats, juice packs and whatever is important in your family. Next, designate containers for each category and get started. You'll get the hang of how to arrange things once you begin and keep in mind we have multiple changes until we get it right, too. We highly recommend a snack station kids can reach.

6. Label, label, label. If you're anything like us, this is the fun part we've all been waiting for. Labels are the finishing touch and the ticket for you and your family to maintain a neat pantry. And, if #diyorganizing is your jam, check out The Creativity Exchange for free printable, hand written labels for organizing the whole pantry and/or a baking cabinet.

-xx/deb + allie